AFTER TWO YEARS of successful execution of their grassroots programs, FC Pune City will continue the development of football at the grassroots level in a structured manner. The club has created a comprehensive plan to build a strong football framework within the Pune region. With a clear intent of providing professional opportunities to learn and participate in the sport, the focus will also be on nurturing talent by providing them progression platforms from an early age.
In 2017, the club’s approach to grassroots will be two-fold, led by technical director Roger Lamesa (UEFA Pro-coach), where they will conduct various programmes under FC Pune City Grassroots banner and work with the Indian Super League’s mandate for every club of talent scouting with the aim of shortlisting candidates for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs programme and also create a youth league in the city.
In addition to having a full-time residential academy, the club will conduct multiple programs including Train the Trainer, School Workshops, Grassroots Festivals; thereby adding more firepower to their junior squads. At present FC Pune City is the only ISL team to boast of a residential academy. The Club presently has 4 junior teams that trains throughout the years under guidance of its coaches – U-18; U-16; U-14 and Women’s team.
“We need to align and integrate all the raw talent and nurture them from a young age which in turn will catapult the city of Pune into the new hub of Indian football. It’s a young city and there is definitely enough potential. The need of the hour is to provide a platform to the young players through high-level training and development programs. We are continuing with two of our flagship programmes; first being a coaching workshop for coaches, parents, PE teachers and footballers and then followed by a talent scouting & development program,” explained FC Pune City’s CEO Mr. Gaurav Modwel.
FC Pune City will be imparting the quality training programmes with techincal director Roger Lamesa & Youth Team Assistant Coaches by reaching out to schools across the city in the form of workshops. To develop the entire eco-system, they will continue conducting a Train the Trainer programmes where all the PE teachers from 40 schools across the city will come under one roof for a one-day coaching course including theory and practical sessions.
The talent scouting programs will be conducted to spruce up the existing U-12 and U-14 squads. In each of the categories, FC Pune City will be looking out for players who will be part of the talent pools, which will feed players directly into the youth squads. The FC Pune City team will scout and then train the talent at St. Vincent’s High School ground, which is the club’s development center. The U-14 team will eventually represent the club at various Pune District Football Association (PDFA) and All India Football Federation (AIFF) tournaments.
Starting this year, in lieu of the league’s mandate, FC Pune City will introduce Youth Leagues in Pune under its community development platform, Forces of Football. The newly formed Youth League will be conducted in three different age groups, i.e. U14, U-12 and U-9.
The Reliance Foundation Youth Champs program will also be executed during this time frame. In the 2016 edition, FC Pune City touched 48 schools, 33 academies that got them over 5000 kids participating in their grassroots program. The ultimate culmination of the efforts saw 118 kids participate in the Reliance Foundation Youth Champs festival, overseen by Piet Hubers, Technical Director, ISL Grassroots Development Programme.
Last year, the club’s efforts on grassroots initiatives went across 40 schools in Pune tapping close to 40,000 kids. This was followed up with seven scouting programs for over 2500 selected kids.
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